T Nation

Why 3 or 4 Sets?


#1

Is it possible to do 1 set , max rep, with max weight or 10% -15% less then max weight and keep doing it pass the muscle burn until you break muscle fibers? I mean why would you need to do 3 or 4 sets when you can do one set and get same result.


#2

In theory, yes. This also depends on the exercise. When you do squat to failure, chances are your legs won’t be the first muscle to give up. Also, just read a bit about Mike Mentzer, Dorian Yates and Dante Trudel.


#3

Other system you can look at for ‘low-set training’ are high intensity training (Arthur Jones) and hypertrophy specific training.


#4

[quote]waelkd wrote:
Is it possible to do 1 set , max rep, with max weight or 10% -15% less then max weight and keep doing it pass the muscle burn until you break muscle fibers?[/quote]

Many have tried (including me); few have found it effective long-term (ditto); fewer still have enjoyed it (ditto).

That’s the point–most people find they can’t get the same result with one set.


#5

I like that style of training: one balls to the walls rest pause set.

It works. Took my bench to 375, doing DogCrapp (with some heavy singles thrown as an ‘over warmup’ for good measure). Not too impressive given my weight at the time (~250), but whatever.


#6

The stronger you get the fewer reps you’ll be able to do. You’ll get to a point where you get one rep and that’s it. Not to mention unless you’ve really mastered the lifts going to failure in the 85-100% range isn’t exactly the best idea; hell, even when you’ve mastered the lifts it isn’t that smart to do often. Not to mention for deadlifts if you try that your CNS will get so trashed it isn’t funny.

You could try clusters if you like that kind of balls-to-the-wall approach. Christian Thibaudeau has some awesome articles on T-Nation about them. I’ve used them for a short inter-meet cycle and they worked. You start at something like 90% and hit singles taking 30 seconds in between each single until you fail. I usually got somewhere between five and three. Oddly, I found it works best for deadlifts because I pull conventional and there’s very little setup. For squats I found it best just to go rep, wait, rep, wait without racking. For bench I set up for the first rep and then just racked and unracked while doing my best to keep my arch.